"Methane Has Never Risen This Fast in the Atmosphere"

"There’s more methane in the atmosphere than any other time since record keeping began—and levels really spiked last year, despite the fact that we were all inside for most of the time.

On Wednesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency said that global atmospheric methane rose to 1,892.3 parts per billion. Methane shattering records is one of those things that, at this point in our anthropogenic timeline, seems to happen every year. But what’s really troubling about this new record is that methane levels rose by a lot last year—the biggest rise in a single year since record-keeping began in the early 1980s. Methane levels shot up 14.7 ppb in 2020—compared to 8.5 ppb and 10.7 ppb in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Even those levels themselves, setting aside 2020’s bloated numbers, are worrisome. That 2019 number was more than 2.5 times the pre-industrial average, and 2018 and 2019 were the two biggest yearly increases since 2000, until 2020 smashed through their records like the Kool-Aid Man running through a wall.

“We don’t usually expect [methane emissions] to jump abruptly in a year,” Lori Bruhwiler, a scientist at NOAA, told the Financial Times. Bruhwiler called the jump “fairly surprising—and disturbing.”"

Molly Taft reports for Earther April 8, 2021.

Source: Earther, 04/09/2021